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When postponement is not an option

When postponement is not an option

Annabel Eveson, project director at SWM Partners, discusses strategies for events that cannot be cancelled and increasing engagement through virtual.

As the pandemic became a reality, many organisations chose to postpone their events.

However, what do you do when your product caters to an important and urgent need and you rely on meetings for their ongoing development and inevitable launch to market?

This is the conundrum many global healthcare companies faced throughout the pandemic. Diseases didn’t disappear, and it was essential that the work of healthcare organisations went on.

One particular type of event this relates to is the investigator meeting. These are vital when it comes to clinical trials, testing a product’s viability and educating healthcare professionals.

Strategies for engaging through virtual

Companies wove a number of strategies throughout their virtual investigator meetings to inform attendees, maintain engagement levels and bring them together.

Many of these proved very successful – some companies even increased their number of events during the pandemic as a result – and are now being incorporated into virtual, hybrid (where it’s essential we create separate experiences for both audiences, while also creating opportunities for them to connect) and in-person meetings.

These strategies include:

Maximising the pre-event phase

By looking to surveys to gain unique insight into each attendee. Using artificial intelligence (AI), this information can be leveraged to personalise the experience and match people based on their shared interests, enabling more meaningful interactions.

Winning with wearables

Namely augmented and virtual reality so that attendees can, for example, learn about a product’s composition in more detail, or explore how a clinical trial has positively impacted participants’ physical conditions. These are either sent to people’s homes, or incorporated into physical events.

Injecting the fun

We’ve found that gamification is a great way to foster interaction and connection within and across meeting formats. These include the use of digital avatars to express the personalities of each attendee, and scavenger hunts which are tied to information about a trial or product, to increase the uptake of information.

Exploring creative ways with presentations

By looking to interactive elements such as live polling and Q&A functionalities, audience members can add notes to personalise their experience.

Creating compelling content

Bite-sized animated video content is an effective way to maintain engagement and communicate complex information in highly visual ways. Now, as we return to in-person, we’re even seeing this content, as well as key sessions, being made available for download and viewing on demand.

While the pandemic presented the healthcare industry with its fair share of challenges, organisations and their specialist agencies moved quickly and thoughtfully to ensure their meetings could continue.

Now, many of the strategies we employed in virtual environments are being brought to life in hybrid and in-person settings too, with great success.